Dr Chi-Kwan Mark

Dr Chi-Kwan Mark

Senior Lecturer in International History

Phone: +44 1784 443360

Research interests

I am a diplomatic/international historian with a focus on Hong Kong, Britain and China in the Cold War period. When I did my D.Phil. at Oxford many years ago, my approach was more of traditional Diplomatic History than what is now called ‘International History’. By consulting the tens of thousands of documents in the U.K. and U.S. archives, I examined how the British and American governments discussed, debated and disagreed over Hong Kong’s role in the Cold War, and revealed the dynamics of the Anglo-American alliance and the dilemmas of vulnerable allies in a global conflict. In recent years, I have been moving closer towards International History by embracing the ‘cultural turn’ in the study of diplomatic relations. In exploring Anglo-Chinese relations between 1950 and 1972, I drew on the concept of ‘the everyday’ to argue that Britain and China were engaged in an ‘everyday Cold War’, characterised by diplomatic ritual, propaganda rhetoric and symbolic retaliation.

Whatever the approach, Hong Kong is an important lens through which I can illuminate a range of broader themes. Just as a prominent cultural scholar has described ‘Asia as method’, so too can Hong Kong be ‘used’ to illuminate British imperial history (defence, decolonisation and immigration), diplomatic history (Sino-British, Sino-American, Anglo-American), and global history (the flows of goods, people, capital and ideas). I am currently working on a project about the twin themes of globalisation and decolonisation in Britain-China-Hong Kong relations in the 1980s.

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